Lovers of hot curry will devour this vindaloo. Have some cooling yoghurt at the ready and some good naan bread. Vindaloo originated in Goa, once a Portuguese colony, and the vinegar is a classic Portuguese trick to lift the flavours to another level.
- 1.3kg boneless lamb shoulder
- 100ml red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 tsp flaked sea salt
- 500g medium potatoes (preferably Maris Pipers)
For the sauce
- about 125ml sunflower oil
- 3 medium onions, finely sliced
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 6 plump garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 3 long red chillies (do not deseed), roughly chopped
- 25g chunk of fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp English mustard powder
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp ground paprika
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp flaked sea salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 500ml cold water
Trim the lamb, discarding any really hard lumps of fat and sinew. You need a bit of fat to add flavour and succulence to the meat. Cut the meat into chunks of about 4cm – you should end up with about 1kg of trimmed, prepared meat. Put the vinegar, oil and salt in a large non-metallic bowl, add the lamb and turn to coat the chunks in the marinade. Cover the bowl and chill for 2 hours.
To make the sauce, heat 3 tablespoons of the sunflower oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the sliced onions and cook very gently over a medium-low heat for 15 minutes until they are softened and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
While the sliced onions are cooking, put the chopped onion, garlic, chillies, ginger, mustard powder, cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper and cinnamon in a food processor and blend to make a purée. You may need to remove the lid and push the mixture down a couple of times with a spatula. Tip the purée into the fried onions, add 2 tablespoons of oil and cook for 5 minutes until thickened and beginning to colour and darken, stirring regularly. Scrape the mixture out of the pan into a large flameproof casserole dish.
Drain the lamb really well in a colander and keep the marinade. Return the frying pan to the heat and add 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil. Fry the lamb in 4 or 5 batches over a medium-high heat, turning the pieces occasionally until lightly browned. Add a little extra oil if necessary. Put each batch of lamb in the casserole dish with the curry sauce as soon as it’s ready. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.
Pour the reserved marinade and water into the casserole dish with the lamb. Add the salt and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cover the surface of the curry with a piece of baking parchment and pop a lid on top. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks of about 2.5cm. Take the casserole dish out of the oven and stir the potato chunks into the curry. Cover the surface with baking parchment and the lid and put the casserole back in the oven for another hour or until the lamb and potatoes are very tender. Season with a little extra salt if necessary and serve with rice or warm naan bread and perhaps some cooling yoghurt.